Glenn Loontjens, viola, is originally from Ghent, Belgium. He moved to the United States at age 9 and began studying violin at age 10. Loontjens attended Indiana University as a double major in viola and computer science, where he studied with Abraham Skernick and Joseph DePasquale. He was a principal player of the New World Symphony, the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, the Spoleto Festival and the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Italy.
Loontjens has performed with the Youngstown, Erie, Wheeling, Jacksonville and Florida West Coast symphony orchestras as well as the Florida Orchestra, the Colorado Music Festival and the touring company of the New York City Opera. Loontjens has also been a faculty member of the Eastern Music Festival, in Greensboro, N.C. During the summers, he often travels and enjoys playing at music festivals including those in Carbondale, Ill. and the Black Hills of South Dakota. He has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic since 2001.
Glenn Loontjens is underwritten by Marita & Hal Brayman.
Name: Glenn Loontjens
Hometown: Ghent, Belgium
At what age did you begin playing your instrument? 9
Who have been your greatest musical influences? My private viola teacher in Portland, OR, with whom I studied while in high school there, made me realize what it would be like to be a professional violist, and that's what gave me the desire to continue studying music.
Who are your favorite composers? Any composer who was wise enough to write for the viola.
What career path would you have taken had you not chosen music? Probably I would have ended up with a job in the computer field; computer science was a second major in college for me.
What's currently playing on your iPod or CD player? I listen to a little bit of everything.
Your hobbies and interests: I enjoy spending time on the water, biking, fixing up my house, and of course electronics and gadgets.
Some little-known, yet interesting facts about you: I'm the only person I've ever heard of who has been bitten by the gentlest creature in the sea (a dolphin, who was confused, apparently).
Funniest concert moment: Opening my viola case immediately before a concert, and finding it completely empty.
Daily practice rituals: I have a habit of turning on the TV (muted) when I start to practice, and then completely ignoring it.
The question you're asked most often about your instrument (and your answer): "Is that a violin?" My answer: "No, it's not."
Your favorite part about playing in the Naples Philharmonic: It's a phenomenal group of musicians, and a very good working environment – and my favorite thing is that I actually really look forward to going to work.